The Reverend David Johnson, a retired Methodist minister and teacher, has died aged 85.
A Supernumerary Minister in the Penrith circuit for more than 20 years, he passed away peacefully at his home in Glenridding, where he lived with his wife, Pat.
Born in Bradford, the son of a coal merchant and a mill worker who had both left school age 14, he became captain of cricket at Bradford Grammar School, and for Yorkshire under-19s, and later played for the Navy against the Army and RAF during his national service.
While still a boy he played the organ for Methodist chapels all over the West Riding of Yorkshire.
He became the first member of his family to attend university, studying classics, and theology at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he met Pat.
He then spent three years at Headingley Methodist Theological College, in Leeds, and after ordination was sent by the Methodist Missionary Society to Sarawak in East Malaysia (Borneo) in 1963 to work in education at the Methodist Secondary School, Sibu.
He and Pat taught there for 10 years.
During this time there was an undeclared war across the jungle border with Indonesia, resulting in curfews, assassinations, planes dropping propaganda leaflets, and communist slogans sprayed on school walls.
Once, masked guerrillas invaded the classroom where David was teaching in order to recruit students.
He tore off their masks and sent them away.
He played cricket for Sarawak against Brunei and Sabah.
On return from Malaysia he and Pat moved to Kent with their two children, where they taught at Sevenoaks School — an international school that attracted students from Sarawak — for over 20 years.
David remained in the Methodist Church as a sector minister, taking services and playing the organ, while also teaching classics and religious studies, then later running the school library and coaching cricket.
On retirement in 1998 they moved to live next door to their daughter Catharine, who was the single-handed GP in Glenridding at that time.
David played the organ and took services regularly in St Patrick’s Church, Patterdale – a local ecumenical project – and other churches in the Penrith Methodist circuit, until Parkinson’s disease took its toll.
He is survived by his wife Pat, sister June, daughter Catharine, son Andrew, and grandchildren Adrian and Helen.